Destination: Villar de Mazarife
Distance: 23 km
Time: 6 1/2 hours, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, only 5.25 hours of walking
Terrain: 90 minutes to outskirts of the city, then dirt and gravel trail theough rolling countryside.
Weather: sunny, fairly warm, almost hot
Total distance to date: 469 km (+12k taxi and 16k bus)
We both had a good sleep and Erik woke up feeling like he was heading in the right direction. He still sounds pretty congested though.
We dressed, went for coffee and pastry, then packed and checked out of the hotel.
A young French Canadian woman, Marie-Lou, approached as we started walking out of the city, and asked if she could join us because it was her first day and she wasn’t quite sure how to follow the yellow arrows.
León is a bit city and it would not be an easy place to start if you weren’t sure what to look for. We took her under our wing and showed her the ropes and it gave me some practice speaking French which I always enjoy.
It took 90 minutes to get through the city to the suburb of La Virgen del Camino where we stopped to buy bananas and have a drink before leaving town. I turned on my phone and emailed our albergue to confirm our reservation and let them know what time to expect us so they wouldn’t to give our room away.
We walked another km to a place where the trail splits into two and suddenly my phone rang. I had forgotten to turn it off. I answered it thinking it might be the albergue I had just emailed, but it was our hotel in Leòn.
They had forgotten to return our passports when they took them the night before. OMG! Now what?! The hotel clerk asked where we were staying tonight and said she’d find a way to send the passports on.
We said goodbye to Marie-Lou and walked 1km back into La Virgen del Camino. I called the hotel back and told them we would prefer to wait in town and have them send the passports in a taxi. Ultimately she had an employee drive them out to us while we waited at a cafe.
An hour and a bit later, we were back on the road. I emailedthe albergue again to say we might be as late as 5pm but in retrospect I should have called instead because when we finally arrived at 4:00, they had no rooms left. Argh. So much for reservations.
They had said yes to 8 couples for only 6 rooms – classic case of overbooking. We were annoyed but it wasn’t the hospitalero’s fault. Luckily they had 2 bunks left in a room of 8 people and we both took lower bunks so I was just happy just to have a bed. Plus it was cheaper. I was only sorry that Erik wouldn’t have a warm, quiet room to sleep in when he’s feeling so lousy.
We had dinner at the albergue and sat with Chris and Sharon, and Francesca and Alfredo, who we met in Mansilla Mayor. It was vegetarian food (salad, pumpkin soup, and veggie paella) and I don’t think Erik was impressed. I thought it was tasty.
It’s 8pm now and I’m sitting in the sun on a lounge chair on the grassy lawn in front of the albergue. Tomorrow is a long day – 31 km into Astorga. Probably our longest walk of the trip. Suffice to say I’ll be glad when we’re there because it will probably be another hot day and my legs will be tired. Tomorrow is our last day on the Meseta. Soon we enter Galicia which is cooler, wetter, and much more mountainous. Oh joy. 😉